Philanthropy till date does not have a definite meaning and is still a matter of contention among many authors and writers who deploy the meaning with reference to their particular interests and subjects. Nevertheless it has been best defined as the private giving away of resources such as money, security or property for public disposal with one or more forms of income with the help of private non- profit organizations. It means to develop a sense of care and affection for fellow humans and involves a benefactor and a beneficiary in the process of giving and receiving.
Philanthropy is different from charity as not all charity is philanthropy. A common difference is that charity helps to relieve the difficulty of those in need whereas a philanthropist aims to wipe away the issue from its root cause by working out a suitable solution for the problem. The simplest example would be providing food to the poor i.e. charity and making them self sufficient by teaching them how to cultivate is Philanthropy.
The ancient Greeks had taken up the ideal goal of the love of humanity as a form of liberal education for the society as a whole to benefit the human race. It was then also rediscovered in the Italian Renaissance who also gave it a boost by including it in their academic curriculum to inculcate the morals of effectual development and governance for upliftment of all. The best example of this phase is portrayed in Pico Della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man. Philanthropy reached its modern form in the 17th Century where it was greeted with other wheels of transformation such as Reformation, rationalism, Empiricism and Scientific approach. All of these together led to a progressive thinking and the embraced Philanthropy as the key to true human happiness. It was found that the best way to self-development was by developing others with good deeds and services and in building a commonwealth community unitedly.
The civil society saw many rich benefactors stepping up to adopt the philanthropic attitude, among them were the upper classes of Englishmen whose benevolence resulted in the creation of charitable trusts and organizations. They set up many hospitals, schools and other institutions for the welfare of the common people and their upliftment. These measures also had many recruits in the navy, abolishment of the slavery system and organized campaigns against child labor and ill treatment of animals. Philanthropy has been also affected by the change in trends over the years such as cultural and technological change.
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